So… there we have it.
A shirt that’s green and yellow, and which – via the world’s worst kept secret – tips its hat to the City kits of the 1930s.
The general consensus seems to be that’s it’s ‘awful’ and the desire to appease the Aviva marketing gurus has led us to a ‘lop-sided’ design. But [cliché klaxon] at the end of the day – regardless of petitions etc – it’s there for the duration of 2015/16 so, love it or hate it, we may as well get used to it.
For once, I did find myself intrigued – evidence I guess that the club’s teaser did its job – although by 09:59 I was rapidly careering towards indifference on the basis of it being just another twist on yellow and green.
By 10:01 I had moved on from its design and on to who might be wearing it this season, which in my aged view is what *really* matters. Also what matters is that the shoulder adorns a badge that says Premier League.
For those who are still squirming at the yellow Aviva square on the front or the tiny collar, take comfort from the fact that previous designs of questionable taste have invariably been worn by a team that delivers on the pitch – the best and most obvious example being the wonderful ‘egg and cress’ as worn so heroically by Gossy and co.
If all we have to stress over is that ‘bloody stupid yellow square’ then we’ll be doing okay.
For those players who were offered no leeway in their summer schedule, the fields of Colney have already been the scene of two days of rigourous fitness testing and now for that same group it’s a five-day training camp in the luxurious surroundings of St George’s Park.
As ever, the manager’s rhetoric continues to inspire and in conversation with the club’s official site he explained the importance of the stay at FA headquarters:
“It’s about spending a bit of time together… I think it’s important – after we won the Play-Off Final, everyone shot off in their own direction to enjoy their summer. It’s important we get that unity back together as well.
“Everyone’s in great spirits because of the way we ended last season and the fact that we’re in the Premier League looking forward to those games.”
In addition he’s looking forward to a full pre-season during which time he and Frankie can further embed their footballing ethos on the players:
“I think it will help a lot. When you come in and work on things mid-season, when you’ve got games coming up, you don’t want to over-train them and give them too much information.”
Among those returning next week are two strikers who, for very different reasons, saw fit to depart the Fine City in order to play some football.
The Ricky story has been discussed probably more than any other but it remains an intriguing one. It also remains, should he wish to accept it, the biggest mission of Alex Neil’s fledgling City career.
While he is unlikely to have witnessed the Dutchman’s abilities first hand, despite the comings and goings of the management and coaching staff, there will still be a few faces who were in situ upon his arrival, the most senior of whom is our other Ricky… Technical Director, Ricky Martin.
Therefore, while I’m sure Alex will be keen to offer RvW a clean slate, he will know the reasons – both painful and excruciating – for his Ligue 1 sabbatical in St Etienne.
The smart money is on Ricky not making the cut – especially given Neil’s penchant for lining up with a lone striker and a ‘number 10’ – and a performance level akin to those lame displays at the back end of 2013-14 (it’s impossible to forget that ‘blind pass’ to no-one at Craven Cottage) will guarantee him never gracing the Carrow Road turf again.
But, while the other half may disagree, I am a romantic. I still dream of Ricky making the net bulge in front of an adoring Barclay. I still dream of seeing those predatory instincts deliver us goals aplenty amidst crowded Premier League penalty boxes.
No-one pays £8.5million for a player with nothing to offer do they?
Having said that I also believe in Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy.
Through less misty eyes, I do wonder if Kyle Lafferty will be afforded a full pre-season to make his claim. Clearly the Ulsterman is keen to be given the chance to impress (why wouldn’t he) and he does possess certain qualities that will appeal to Alex and Frankie.
But can he transform himself from a walking yellow card who rarely finds the net into one who keeps his nose clean, who gives the John Terrys and the Vincent Kompanys a rough ride for all the right reasons and who scores goals?
It’s another big call to be made from the manager and one that potentially poses an even greater challenge than either Ricky or Seb Bassong.
Either way, everything the gaffer has done since he arrived tells me we should simply trust his judgement.
Finally, while it still feels like yesterday, it’s actually been 38 days since we were enjoying Norfolk’s biggest ever group hug inside Wembley. As daft as it sounds, for me the buzz still resonates and probably will until hostilities recommence in early-August.
The recording of the events of that afternoon are recorded for posterity on the Gowers Sky+ planner and are marked ‘K’ for ‘keep’. Woe betide any member of said household who dares to change its status.
Not since that day have I have experienced anything that comes remotely close to producing that same level of sporting joy. Despite the bravery of the Lionesses, and the cavalier efforts England’s One-Day International team in the series with New Zealand nothing compares – and probably won’t for years to come.
But, in the most unlikeliest of circumstances, Gowers Junior stepped into the breach yesterday and gave Messrs Jerome, Hoolahan, Redmond and Johnson a run for their money.
While Grove Primary School Sports Day may just lose out to a Wembley Play-Off Final in terms of grandeur, the sight and sound of a young Gowers ripping it up over ten events on a sun-scorched playing field filled Dad with that same pride normally felt only when watching those in yellow (and green halves).
And the hardest thing? Being Competitive Dad on the inside, while exuding calmness and impartiality on the outside. Agony.
But well done little fella. If your hero (Wes) had witnessed it, he too would have been proud.